THE WAGYU OF KOBE AND ITS SECRETS
Kobe Wagyu, or Kobe-gyu (“gyu” indicates meat that has already been butchered) is famous all over the world to such an extent that even in Italy the word Wagyu is often not even known and this meat is simply called Kobe .
On this page we will go in depth to better understand what Kobe Wagyu is, we will reveal its secrets and we will debunk myths and legends about it.
NB : Wagyu Company is the official and certified distributor of Kobe meat. If you are interested in trying or using Kobe beef, get in touch with us.
Kobe wagyu can be purchased by private individuals by reservation only. How does it work? Book the whole cut, we reserve it with the breeder. Once a month , usually around the beginning of the month, the animal is slaughtered. The piece arrives in Italy around the 10th of the month. Delivery is made at a controlled temperature with respect for the cold chain
Order before the end of the month to have your cut within 30-35 days. If you have any doubts before ordering, write to us at email@example.com
NOMENCLATURE AND SELECTION CRITERIA
wa = Japan
Gyu = meat (already slaughtered)
Ushi = beef before slaughter
Tajima ushi = Tajima beef before slaughter
Tajima gyu = Tajima beef
Kobe ushi = does not exist because a Tajima ushi, after being slaughtered and passing the selection, will become kobe gyu.
Kobe gyu = among Tajima steers, those selected after slaughter become Kobe gyu.
The standard selection parameters are established by the Kobe Meat Distribution Promotion Council Consortium.
Here are some of the selection rules:
1) Purity of pedigree (father, mother, grandfather and grandmother) in addition to being born in Kobe must have been raised in Kobe.
2) In a Kobe beef the half carcase cannot exceed a certain weight (the growth must be as natural and spontaneous as possible), if the weight is superior at a certain number of kg the meat will be compromised and will not become Kobe gyu.
3) Only the meat with marbling grade 4 (BMS 6-7) or 5 (BMS 8-9-10-11-12) can be included in the Kobe selection (for the "selection" scroll down)
So be careful when shopping: real Kobe beef bears the logo of Kobe consortium (the daisy explained at the bottom of this page).
If it's not there...simply that animal (and its meat) remains Tajima gyu and will therefore not become Kobe gyu certified.
That's it: it is not enough for an animal to be born in Kobe for its meat to become certified Kobe Wagyu, you have to pass the selection exam!
So always check that your Kobe beef is certified!
Source WAGYU OF KOBE - Wagyu Company
The Kobe Wagyu is a selection of beef from the Tajima breed, a Japanese breed of black-haired beef originally from the Tajima area, a very mountainous area in the Kobe region.
Tajima beef has an average small build and thin bones, historically it was used in rice fields precisely because of its good movement capacity even in medium mountain areas.
The DNA of this breed makes the meat of these animals particularly marbled in a natural way.
As you can imagine, therefore, maintaining the purity of the Tajima breed is essential to ensure very high standards, this is only possible by prohibiting any "incoming" interaction between the Tajima area and other areas of Japan.
We have specified "incoming" because it is very common to have crosses between the Tajima breed and breeds from neighboring regions on the way out. Typical is, for example, the crossing of Tajima bulls and cows from other regions.
A PINCH OF HISTORY
The breeding of this breed in the region of Tajima dates back to ancient times, as demonstrated in the historical text Shoku Nihonki, these animals are described as cattle " suitable for cultivation , transport and food". Before the Edo period, in fact, they were used mainly for work in the fields and as transport animals, also considering that it was forbidden to eat meat of four-legged animals.
Thanks to its physical resistance and great fertile power, the number of these animals in Tajima was very high, so a cow market was established in the current city of Yofu through which several specimens reached the areas of Kansai (western Japan) and surroundings. Moreover, these animals gradually began to exist raised not only in the Tajima region , but also in other parts of Hyogo prefecture.
In the Meiji era, in order to try to further improve this breed, tests were carried out crossings with some foreign species, such as the short-horned Devon originally from England and the Swiss Brown Swiss, but the quality of the meat worsened and after a while the crossings were interrupted.
From 1911, cattle which in the cow register also had blood of other breeds were excluded. The pedigree was then further purified and improved by also avoiding crossings with breeds from other Japanese regions, precisely to completely protect the pure blood of this species.
The Tajima beef , characterized by excellent quality meat, is used in genetics nationwide to improve other breeds of beef , as happened for the Maezawa, it can therefore be defined as the " original breed " of several famous wagyu beef such as Matsusaka beef, Iga, Omi and Hida beef.
The province of Kobe it is located in the Hyogo region of the sea in southern Japan (see map). In the Hyogo region alone there are eight zones (provinces) which also become eight different brands of Wagyu. In all cases these are cattle farms Tajima breed That, if they meet post-slaughter standards , they may be called Kobe gyu or Wagyu from Kobe.
It should be emphasized that in Japan the main purpose is the enhancement of the various local realities, the meat of each of these areas it is sold under its own name and thus we have Harima gyu, Tamba gyu, Tajima gyu etc…
In other words, authentic Kobe beef, the one you can get about Wagyu Company and which is famous all over the world, was born and raised in Tajima and has nothing to do with the city of Kobe except for the name it can take after having passed the selection and having respected every point of the strict disciplinary .
*The Wagyu Beef GI, established in 2015 and approved by the Government of Japan, defines Wagyu Beef as representative beef of the Japanese state and defines its farming rules.
CLASSIFICATION & SELECTION
The degree of performance indicates how much meat can be eaten relative to the weight of the carcass. There are three efficiency classes: class A is the one with maximum efficiency and C is the one with low efficiency. Be careful not to misunderstand, we are not talking about taste or quality, but about yield. The reason why class A costs more and class C costs less is that, in the end, with class C the spread is greater.
The degree of quality of the meat : the judgment is based on the intersection of four elements: fat (degree of marbling, BMS), color of the meat, firmness (consistency), color and quality of the fat.
All four items are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest. The final grade of the meat will be equivalent to the lowest score among the four items.
Degree of marbling : ranges from 1 to 12, where 12 is the maximum quality of marbling (or shimofuri in Japanese), indicates the quantity and quality of the presence of streaks of fine fat between the red fibers of the meat. With a marbling below 6 the meat will not be branded Kobe
The standards that a Tajima ushi must meet to become Kobe beef (Kobe gyu) are these:
1) The pet must be of the Tajima breed and must have been born in Hyogo Prefecture
2) Must be raised in Hyogo Prefecture by a breeder who is a member of the Official Kobe Beef Association
3) It must be either a cow that has never calved or a castrated steer or steer
4) Must be slaughtered in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa or Himeji slaughterhouses in Hyogo prefecture
5) The quality of the meat must have a score of 4 or 5 and must be class A or B
6) The weight of the carcass (the body of the animal from which skin, bones and internal organs have been removed) must be between 260 and 470 kg for males and between 230 and 470 kg for females.
7) The marbling percentage (BMS) must be level 6 or higher
Tajima beef has very strong genes and is perfect for getting the Wagyu beef that the market wants: thin bones, marbling, taste and texture. This animal is referred to as the "original steer" and there are very few purebred Tajima breeding bulls in Japan today.
Their DNA is therefore an invaluable genetic heritage used for crossbreeding with cows throughout Japan (Omi, Matsusaka, Yonezawa, Hida all have Tajima in their family tree). The very high level of quality of this meat is therefore still handed down today thanks to the work and passion of the breeders who continue to try to protect the important heritage of the Tajima breed and Kobe gyu as much as possible.
Kobe beef always features a stamp called "Nojigiku", the symbolic flower of Hyogo Prefecture.
All cattle raised in Hyogo Prefecture are inspected after being slaughtered and sold as Tajima beef at the carcass market. Among them, those who pass the evaluation criteria become "Kobe gyu" and receive the daisy stamp.
PS: the daisy is printed with edible ink, so no problem, you can safely eat it!